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Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron’s Intense Chemistry on ‘Mad Max’ Made Casting Director Crash Her Car

Casting director Ronna Kress was so distracted by their first encounter that she backed into a pole.


Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron

Everett Collection

The path to “Fury Road” is paved with off-the-charts sexual chemistry.

While casting “Mad Max: Fury Road” took years, casting director Ronna Kress knew that Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy were the perfect actors to play Furiosa and Mad Max, respectively.

Despite Hardy wowing in his audition — and beating out other actors like Michael Fassbender, Armie Hammer, Jeremy Renner, and even Eminem — Kress admitted that Hardy was not hired until she and director George Miller could witness a table read opposite Theron.

“We did a video-conference call at Warner Bros. with George so he could talk to Tom and Charlize, because it was really important for him to see them together,” Kress told New York Times writer Kyle Buchanan for his new book, “Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of ‘Mad Max: Fury Road,’” which he excerpted on Thursday on Twitter (see below). “Once we saw them, we just knew. It was an indescribable, perfect thing.”

Kress was so in shock from the experience that she got in a fender bender with a pole.

“After the video call, Tom and Charlize and I were in the parking lot. I was looking at them, and they looked so unbelievable together — it was perfect; there was no question in my mind that we had done the right thing — and while I was waving good-bye to them, I backed my car into a pole and crashed the side of my car,” Kress said. “Charlize ran up: ‘Oh my God, Ronna, are you okay?’ I said, ‘I’m fine. I was just staring at you guys!’ That’s how intense it was.”

Miller added that Theron and Hardy had a natural, complementary duality.

“Susan Sarandon said it well: When you’re pairing couples, you always want a female to skew male and a male to skew female. She told me, ‘If you look at the great male movie stars, they have a female quality — they’re not effeminate, but there’s a looseness to them that reminds one of the female approach to life,” Miller said. “And the female stars have always had a male quality, which is to be very direct.'”

Turns out Theron and Hardy were the new Hepburn and Tracy, with the initials to match.

“[Katharine Hepburn] was very direct, and Spencer Tracy, for all his rough masculinity, has a looseness with him,” Miller said.

And Miller knew then-lesser known Hardy was meant to be a star: “I had the same feeling about Tom that I had when Mel Gibson first walked into the room. There was a kind of edgy charm, the charisma of animals,” Miller said. “You don’t know what’s going on in their inner depths, and yet they’re enormously attractive.”

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